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Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
In the tropics, fodder trees and shrubs are a very important source of nutrients, especially nitrogen. In vitro gas production methods used for food evaluation were originally developed for investigation of temperate forages and used a nitrogen-rich medium. Evaluation of fodder tree leaves in this medium may mask the effect of their nitrogen which it is important to understand. This trial studied the fermentation of a range of tropical fodder trees and shrubs in both nitrogen-rich and nitrogen-free media, in order to identify the main chemical entities contributing to gas production and the time within which such contributions were most important.
The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 (C4) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC region can now be used to predict C4 RNA expression in the brain. Increased predicted C4A RNA expression is associated with the risk of SZ, and C4 is reported to influence synaptic pruning in animal models.
Based on our previous studies associating MHC SZ risk variants with poorer memory performance, we tested whether increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with reduced memory function in a large (n = 1238) dataset of psychosis cases and healthy participants, and with altered task-dependent cortical activation in a subset of these samples.
We observed that increased predicted C4A RNA expression predicted poorer performance on measures of memory recall (p = 0.016, corrected). Furthermore, in healthy participants, we found that increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with a pattern of reduced cortical activity in middle temporal cortex during a measure of visual processing (p < 0.05, corrected).
These data suggest that the effects of C4 on cognition were observable at both a cortical and behavioural level, and may represent one mechanism by which illness risk is mediated. As such, deficits in learning and memory may represent a therapeutic target for new molecular developments aimed at altering C4’s developmental role.
The most important element in consumer enjoyment of meat is tenderness, closely followed by flavour, with variation in these traits having a significant impact on consumer satisfaction (Casas et al. 2006). In order to forge improvements in these traits, either through quantitative breeding or molecular genetics, it is essential that there is a reliable method of trait testing. Sensory data, as collected using a taste panel, are subject to high measurement error as well as problems associated with subjectivity. Unfortunately these sensory panels are a necessary step in the improvement of the above mentioned beef traits, as no machine can measure the range of interacting characteristics that contribute to eating quality and palatability (Warriss 2000). This study aimed to test the repeatability and reproducibility values for seven sensory beef traits assessed by a taste panel operating in a commercial setting.
Equine welfare is a major concern within the racing industry. A large proportion of fatalities (50-60%) are the result of falls at fences (Pinchbeck, et al., 2004). Various authors have reported factors affecting fall rates both within steeplechase and hurdle races these include; race length, race speed, ground conditions (the going), the horses Timeform rating, previous history, race progression and whip use (Pinchbeck, et al., 2003; Pinchbeck, et al., 2004). At present there have been few studies carried out investigating the effects of gender on the risk of falling in hurdle racing. This study undertook an investigation of fall rates for hurdlers running during the 2004/05 National Hunt season, discriminating via gender.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
DSM-5 proposes an Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome (APS) for further investigation, based upon the Attenuated Positive Symptom Syndrome (APSS) in the Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes (SIPS). SIPS Unusual Thought Content, Disorganized Communication and Total Disorganization scores predicted progression to psychosis in a 2015 NAPLS-2 Consortium report. We sought to independently replicate this in a large single-site high-risk cohort, and identify baseline demographic and clinical predictors beyond current APS/APSS criteria.
We prospectively studied 200 participants meeting criteria for both the SIPS APSS and DSM-5 APS. SIPS scores, demographics, family history of psychosis, DSM Axis-I diagnoses, schizotypy, and social and role functioning were assessed at baseline, with follow-up every 3 months for 2 years.
The conversion rate was 30% (n = 60), or 37.7% excluding participants who were followed under 2 years. This rate was stable across time. Conversion time averaged 7.97 months for 60% who developed schizophrenia and 15.68 for other psychoses. Mean conversion age was 20.3 for males and 23.5 for females. Attenuated odd ideas and thought disorder appear to be the positive symptoms which best predict psychosis in a logistic regression. Total negative symptom score, Asian/Pacific Islander and Black/African-American race were also predictive. As no Axis-I diagnosis or schizotypy predicted conversion, the APS is supported as a distinct syndrome. In addition, cannabis use disorder did not increase risk of conversion to psychosis.
NAPLS SIPS findings were replicated while controlling for clinical and demographic factors, strongly supporting the validity of the SIPS APSS and DSM-5 APS diagnosis.
Identifying youth who may engage in future substance use could facilitate early identification of substance use disorder vulnerability. We aimed to identify biomarkers that predicted future substance use in psychiatrically un-well youth.
LASSO regression for variable selection was used to predict substance use 24.3 months after neuroimaging assessment in 73 behaviorally and emotionally dysregulated youth aged 13.9 (s.d. = 2.0) years, 30 female, from three clinical sites in the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) study. Predictor variables included neural activity during a reward task, cortical thickness, and clinical and demographic variables.
Future substance use was associated with higher left middle prefrontal cortex activity, lower left ventral anterior insula activity, thicker caudal anterior cingulate cortex, higher depression and lower mania scores, not using antipsychotic medication, more parental stress, older age. This combination of variables explained 60.4% of the variance in future substance use, and accurately classified 83.6%.
These variables explained a large proportion of the variance, were useful classifiers of future substance use, and showed the value of combining multiple domains to provide a comprehensive understanding of substance use development. This may be a step toward identifying neural measures that can identify future substance use disorder risk, and act as targets for therapeutic interventions.
The importance of feeding the ewe well during pregnancy and lactation has long been realized, but differences of opinion exist as to what stage food, in addition to natural grazing, should be given. If, for example, a farmer had a limited supply of supplementary food, when would it be best to feed it? The answer to this question is dependent on factors such as breed of sheep, the expected lambing percentage, the grazing available and the weather conditions.
Ecological restoration of trees is often constrained by limited knowledge of the biology, propagation and management requirements of individual species. Consequently, restoration initiatives rarely incorporate less well-known species or those that are difficult to source and grow. We describe challenges associated with the restoration of threatened trees in the Araucaria Forest of southern Brazil, and analyse the effectiveness of methods used to define target species, identify seed sources and generate information on the phenology of rare or threatened tree species. A review of secondary data identified 71 rare or threatened taxa as targets for seed collection. We then surveyed 68.7 km of trails in 26 forest remnants, identifying and mapping 1,027 seed-producing trees of 38 species. Surveys confirmed the scarcity of several tree species (including seven species with an abundance of <0.04 individuals per km), and nine species showed no signs of fruiting during 3 years of phenological monitoring. These findings, together with limited knowledge and application of optimal seed collection methods, are significant factors impeding the recovery of these species within their natural habitat. Wider application of the results of this case study could support restoration of the Araucaria Forest with seedlings from a wider diversity of species.
Strategies to dissect phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) have mainly relied on subphenotypes, such as age at onset (AAO) and recurrence/episodicity. Yet, evidence on whether these subphenotypes are familial or heritable is scarce. The aims of this study are to investigate the familiality of AAO and episode frequency in MDD and to assess the proportion of their variance explained by common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP heritability).
For investigating familiality, we used 691 families with 2–5 full siblings with recurrent MDD from the DeNt study. We fitted (square root) AAO and episode count in a linear and a negative binomial mixed model, respectively, with family as random effect and adjusting for sex, age and center. The strength of familiality was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). For estimating SNP heritabilities, we used 3468 unrelated MDD cases from the RADIANT and GSK Munich studies. After similarly adjusting for covariates, derived residuals were used with the GREML method in GCTA (genome-wide complex trait analysis) software.
Significant familial clustering was found for both AAO (ICC = 0.28) and episodicity (ICC = 0.07). We calculated from respective ICC estimates the maximal additive heritability of AAO (0.56) and episodicity (0.15). SNP heritability of AAO was 0.17 (p = 0.04); analysis was underpowered for calculating SNP heritability of episodicity.
AAO and episodicity aggregate in families to a moderate and small degree, respectively. AAO is under stronger additive genetic control than episodicity. Larger samples are needed to calculate the SNP heritability of episodicity. The described statistical framework could be useful in future analyses.
The organogenesis of the digestive system was described in the Amazonian pimelodid catfish species Pseudoplatystoma punctifer from hatching (3.5 mm total length, TL) to 41 days post-fertilization (dpf) (58.1 mm TL) reared at 28°C. Newly hatched larvae showed a simple digestive tract, which appeared as a straight undifferentiated and unfolded tube lined by a single layer of columnar epithelial cells (future enterocytes). During the endogenous feeding period, comprised between 20 and 96 h post-fertilization (3.5 to 6.1 mm TL), the larval digestive system experienced a fast transformation with the almost complete development and differentiation of most of digestive organs (buccopahrynx, oesophagus, intestine, liver and exocrine pancreas). Yolk reserves were not completely depleted at the onset of exogenous feeding (4 dpf, 6.1 mm TL), and a period of mixed nutrition was observed up to 6 to 7 dpf (6.8 to 7.3 mm TL) when yolk was definitively exhausted. The stomach was the organ that latest achieved its complete differentiation, characterized by the development of abundant gastric glands in the fundic stomach between 10 and 15 dpf (10.9 to 15.8 mm TL) and the formation of the pyloric sphincter at the junction of the pyloric stomach and the anterior intestine at 15 dpf (15.8 mm TL). The above-mentioned morphological and histological features observed suggested the achievement of a digestive system characteristic of P. punctifer juveniles and adults. The ontogeny of the digestive system in P. punctifer followed the same general pattern as in most Siluriform species so far, although some species-specific differences in the timing of differentiation of several digestive structures were noted, which might be related to different reproductive guilds, egg and larval size or even different larval rearing practices. According to present findings on the histological development of the digestive system in P. punctifer, some recommendations regarding the rearing practices of this species are also provided in order to improve the actual larval rearing techniques of this fast-growing Neotropical catfish species.
Neuroimaging measures of behavioral and emotional dysregulation can yield biomarkers denoting developmental trajectories of psychiatric pathology in youth. We aimed to identify functional abnormalities in emotion regulation (ER) neural circuitry associated with different behavioral and emotional dysregulation trajectories using latent class growth analysis (LCGA) and neuroimaging.
A total of 61 youth (9–17 years) from the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms study, and 24 healthy control youth, completed an emotional face n-back ER task during scanning. LCGA was performed on 12 biannual reports completed over 5 years of the Parent General Behavior Inventory 10-Item Mania Scale (PGBI-10M), a parental report of the child's difficulty regulating positive mood and energy.
There were two latent classes of PGBI-10M trajectories: high and decreasing (HighD; n = 22) and low and decreasing (LowD; n = 39) course of behavioral and emotional dysregulation over the 12 time points. Task performance was >89% in all youth, but more accurate in healthy controls and LowD versus HighD (p < 0.001). During ER, LowD had greater activity than HighD and healthy controls in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a key ER region, and greater functional connectivity than HighD between the amygdala and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (p's < 0.001, corrected).
Patterns of function in lateral prefrontal cortical–amygdala circuitry in youth denote the severity of the developmental trajectory of behavioral and emotional dysregulation over time, and may be biological targets to guide differential treatment and novel treatment development for different levels of behavioral and emotional dysregulation in youth.